Six years ago in June, The Arts Partnership (TAP) entered into a content relationship with Forum Communications Co. to write articles and take photos and videos about the local art scene every Monday as well as a monthly column related to larger issues around arts advocacy.
To say that this relationship was a game changer for not just TAP but the arts sector as a whole is an understatement. For years, arts leaders and supporters had longingly hoped for more media coverage. Some of them had even dreamed of collaborating with The Forum. After all, TAP had produced a bi-monthly newspaper, ARTSpulse, for years.
It wasn’t ridiculous, just virtually impossible. And then we did it. Our then-digital media producer, Kris Kerzman, and I met with Forum Editor Matt Von Pinnon and his team, and the stars lined up because it happened with very little negotiating.
On June 24, 2013, I wrote a note to the Partnership: “The Forum also launched my first column today. Kris will be writing stories on artists and arts events… and I will write a column… about larger art initiatives, opportunities, ideas and more; kind of a ‘call to action’ to the greater community to see the value the arts bring to the overall success of the metro.”
So much has changed for TAP in these six years. Kris moved on, and we hired MeLissa Kossick, who also moved on. We hired Chelsey Ewen, and now, after nearly three years, Chelsey’s moving on as well. Each of them brought their own personality to their writing and took this piece of their job seriously, ensuring that the arts were getting excellent, broad and diverse coverage week after week. I know that whomever we hire to replace Chelsey will work as hard as the others to amplify the arts to the significant Forum readership, too.
One thing that has stayed consistent, however, through all these years is my monthly message. Go back and look at the 72 columns I’ve written and you’ll see they are a steady drumbeat to #supportlocalart.
Whether it’s asking for increased funding, encouraging the business sector to consider that arts as an asset for employee attraction and retention, proving the measurable economic benefits of the arts or more, writing this column has been an absolute privilege and one that I have also taken very seriously.
But Matt, his team and I agree that it’s time to switch things up. The challenge to beating a drum is that it can start to sound the same, no matter where or how you hit it.
So this is my final scheduled monthly column. I’ll still be writing about arts advocacy, it just mostly won’t appear in The Forum. You can find it on our website, and I’ll still submit columns from time to time if there’s something particularly important to say.
Thanks for reading my columns for all these years. It’s been an honor to advocate for the arts in this way, and I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to encourage everyone to #supportlocalart.
This article is part of a content partnership with the Fargo Forum and appeared in print on Monday July 29, 2019.